Oscar Vai To'elau Kightley, MNZM, is a Samoan-born New Zealand actor, television presenter, writer, journalist, director, and comedian. He "was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to theatre and television in 2009."
Oscar Vai To'elau Kightley
14 September 1969
|Nationality||New Zealand, Samoan|
|Alma mater||Rutherford College|
|Occupation||Actor, presenter, writer, director, comedian|
Kightley acted in and co-wrote the successful 2006 film Sione's Wedding. He is a member of the comedy group Naked Samoans Talk About Their Knives (also known as simply "Naked Samoans"), who together wrote the animated television series bro'Town. He is also known for his involvement with Sportzah.
Kightley came to New Zealand after the death of his father, when he was 4 years old. He was the youngest of eight children. He was adopted by his aunt and uncle, who live in West Auckland. He attended Rutherford College, where he learnt about different cultures; his experiences during this time form the basis of his writing.
"My first job was as a journalist, and I thought that was going to be me until I retired." But the success of his first play, Fresh off the Boat (co-written with Simon Small), allowed him to pursue a career in the performing arts.
He was a breakfast announcer on Niu FM until January 2007. He has also been on RNZ National/Te Reo Irirangi o Aotearoa National as a guest, as well as guest-hosting Kim Hill's Saturday Morning show during Summer 2007-2008. In 2006 he received a Laureate Award from the Arts Foundation of New Zealand.
Kightley acted in and co-wrote the successful 2006 film Sione's Wedding. He is a member of the comedy group Naked Samoans Talk About Their Knives (also known as "Naked Samoans"), who together wrote the animated television series bro'Town. He is also known for his involvement with Sportzah.
Kightley co-founded Pacific Underground and the Island Players theatre company, which have produced critically acclaimed work. He won the Bruce Mason playwrights’ award in 1998 and has worked as a performer and writer for a number of television shows including Skitz, Telly Laughs, The Panel, Sportzah, and TV3's rugby coverage. His plays include Dawn Raids, Island Girls, A Frigate Bird Sings (co-written with Dave Fane and Nathaniel Lees), and Niu Sila (co-written with Dave Armstrong). Oscar also co-wrote and took a lead role in the highly successful Sione’s Wedding movies. Dawn Raids was reissued in 2018 by Playmarket.
In 2019 Kightley received the Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer's Residency, "a unique opportunity for a New Zealand writer of Pacific heritage to work on a creative writing project exploring Pacific identify, culture, or history." The significance of this award is the place it has in the development of contemporary Maori and Pacifica culture, and of Kightley's stature within the history of that development. The Residency, located at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, was inaugurated by film director, writer, and educator Sima Urale in 2004; other film and theatre artists who have received the award include Victor Rodger (2006), Toa Fraser (2009), and Makerita Urale (2010). The University of Hawai'i at Mānoa is also where Merata Mita "developed [the] Academy for Creative Media’s indigenous filmmaking program.
In October 2019 he was presented with a Scroll of Honour from the Variety Artists Club of New Zealand for his contribution to New Zealand entertainment.
|2012||Sione's 2: Unfinished Business||Albert|
|2016||Hunt for the Wilderpeople||Andy|
|TBA||Next Goal Wins||Post-production|
- Empson, Madelaine (23 July – 6 August 2019). "Close-up: The Simple Act of Storytelling". Regional News. p. 9.
- "Oscar Kightley gets $50,000 award". New Zealand Herald. 31 October 2006. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
- McKenzie-Minifie, Martha (23 January 2007). "Breakfast off for Oscar Kightley". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
- Warrington, Lisa; O'Donnell, David. Floating Islanders : Pasifika theatre in Aotearoa. Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press. pp. 80–82. ISBN 978-1-988531-07-6. OCLC 994638351.
- "Oscar Kightley | Playmarket". www.playmarket.org.nz. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
- "Oscar Kightley - Dawn Raids revisited". Radio New Zealand. 27 January 2019. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
- "Producers". Piki. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
- "Arts Pasifika Awards". Creative New Zealand. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
- "Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer's Residency". University of Hawai'i Center for Pacific Island Studies. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
- "Faculty Obituaries". Malamalama, The Magazine of the University of Hawai'i System. 11 October 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2019.